Two decent episodes in a row? Could this be the start of a trend?

Okay, so I missed last week’s episode, which apparently ended up being not-too-terrible. A few friends suggested that it was a sign I should skip this week’s, as well, but my editors would not hear of it.

So basically, if this one sucks, it’s going to be all my fault.

What Is It?

Let’s get this part out of the way first: Through out the episode, Morgan begins his trip back to crazy town, this time with visions of Gavin (Savior dude who got stabbed through the neck a few weeks ago) declaring “You know what this is!”

My guess on what “it” is: Morgan’s contract transferring from this show to Fear the Walking Dead, which likely involves a dramatic death scene followed by having to sit on a couch next to a randomly celebrity while Chris Hardwick asks you stupid questions.

War Ready

Both Simon’s bloodlust and Dwight’s traitorous moping have reached a fevered pitch as they advance on the Hilltop. Thankfully, Maggie has a plan, which starts with everyone making as much noise as humanly possible in a zombie infested area to alert the troops that The Saviors are on their way. As everyone gets ready for battle, Henry (awesome neck stabber kid) tries to get Carol to let him go, but gets shot down…which of course means he’s going to do it anyway.

Meanwhile, some medical person named Dana tries to pull the whole abusive mentor thing with Siddiq, who is having absolutely none of it.

That night, Simon and Maggie being their battle by sniping at each other over walkie-talkies for a bit. When Maggie threatens to execute all of her Savior prisoners, Simon goes full on Donald Trump and explains that he only likes people who weren’t captured. Before he can give the order to charge, Dwight reminds Simon that Negan might be alive. Simon says something asinine and goes ahead with things, anyway.

This is right about when Daryl comes roaring in on his motorcycle while firing an automatic weapon with the type of precision normally reserved for robots and experienced gamers.

This forces The Saviors inside the Hilltop gates, where a bus moves in place to block their advance. Then Maggie orders her soldiers to put some of that unlimited ammunition to use and unleash hell.

The Saviors weren’t going to take this ass kicking lying down, though. In addition to firing back, they also began attacking whoever they could with zombie-coated weapons. One of their first victims was Tobin, who you may remember as the guy who was crushing on Carol back in Season 6. We’ll get back to him in a minute.

Maggie and her crew shoot out The Saviors’ vehicles headlights, turn out the lights inside their own main building, and cease firing while fleeing inside. Because Simon is an idiot, this is enough to make him think he has the upper hand and start doing that stupid two-tone Negan whistle.

Then, like a parent catching their kid making out with someone on the couch in the basement, Maggie orders the lights on and the guns to resume firing. Simon and The Saviors collectively crap their pants and retreat only to be met by Rick and some of his people, who flank and gun them down.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Rick was part of a plan that actually worked.

Simon, Dwight, and a few of The Saviors got away, but not before Dwight saved Daryl with a shot that was so purposefully bad it would make a stormtrooper blush.

Oh yeah, and Rick almost kills Siddiq while he’s trying to help someone. Because it wouldn’t be The Walking Dead without Rick reminding us that he’s a tragedy-prone liability.

Daylight Reckoning

With the battle won, Rick and Maggie talk about how much they want all The Saviors to be dead. In one of the few times the character has actually made me like her, Tara explains to Daryl that she totally messed up with Dwight. Carol and Tobin reconnect while he and many others appear to be suffering a great deal more from their wounds than they should be.

Night of the Living Dead

Remember Henry? I was starting to like that kid. I liked him even more when he took a gun and went out to the Savior pen to demand that the person who killed his brother step forward to get executed.

Then he had to go and be an idiot and unlock the gate.

Before that bit of stupidity can play out, though, Tobin and a few of the other injured people die and turn into zombies.

You think I’m sexy now, Carol?

As expected, this leads to mass amounts of pandemonium and bloodshed. When the Saviors hear this, the skeevy one with long hair (I think his name is Jared) decides this is the time to make a break for it. He gets an assist from a random ninja walker which somehow snuck past everyone and gets bitey, adding a nice dash of confusion to hep things go into motion. Henry manages to mow a few Saviors down before he’s knocked over like a pygmy bowling by and gets his gun stolen by Jared.

As you might expect, Gregory the Nutless Wonder leaves Henry to die and flees with the other Saviors.

The next morning, Henry is gone and everyone is sad/angry. Rick realizes why Negan’s car was full of zombie guts. Maggie takes her turn at the show’s weekly “this world is costing us our humanity speech.” That one kind of nice Savior who looks a little like Frankie Muniz stays to help The Hilltop, which earns him Maggie’s reluctant mercy/respect (at least for now). Jesus finally shows up again, although all he does is point a bit and show off his hair. But best of all, though, Tara realizes she’s probably going to die since she got nicked with a zombie-coated weapon.

The Verdict

Wow. Another decent episode. One more of these and I’m willing to call it a trend.

The show still has it’s problems–painfully telegraphed story beats, repetitive “Are we losing our humanity” moral quandaries, etc–but it also featured some great action sequences and a zombie attack that was actually scary (or at least intense).

Also, I’m in favor of any episode that has Maggie leading things instead of Rick.

So yeah, not a perfect episode by any stretch, but it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had watching the show in a very long time. Add in the cliffhanger from last week with Jadis/Negan and we might actually have things heading toward a recovery for this series.

The Walking Dead: Season 8, Episode 13 'Do Not Send Us Astray'
Is it good?
Still plenty of flaws, but that's two good episodes in a row (which hasn't happened in a very long time).
Some great action sequences along with the best zombie attack scene we've had in years.
Rick manages to be part of a plan that actually works.
Tara might die soon.
There are still plenty of painfully obvious story beats.
Do we really have to listen to speeches about the characters' losing their humanity every episode?
Will someone please tell Ghost Gavin to be more clear about what he's telling Morgan?
7

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